WHAT’S GOING ON WITH RUSSIA’S SPACE PROGRAM?
Failed rocket launches are nothing new for Russia. This is the sixth rocket launch failure for Russia in 3 and a half years and while there have have been many successful flights during that time, such a number is cause for concern. The most recent failure occured in late April when a Russian cargo ship intended to deliver supplies to the International Space Station failed to dock, sending it into an uncontrollable spin,having been caused by a leak in the fuel tank. This failure resulted in a delay of landing some of the space station crew until June and the launch of a replacement crew has been delayed until late July. Why all these failures? Experts say its because of a brain drain a decrease in engineering and quality standards, as well as internal complications due to leadership shifts.
SO WHAT NOW?
Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev has ordered a commission to determine the cause of the failed rocket launch. International Launch Services has announced a separate investigation into what happened. A search for debris has also been initiated but none has been found yet. Industry sources say that the rocket launch failure could signal the suspension of all future Proton-M launches, the next one scheduled in June carrying a British satellite. Having lost $390 million from the destroyed satellite and failed launch, Mexico laments Russia’s failure but plans on launching another satellite from Cape Canaveral in Florida.
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